Phra Nang Beach, Krabi: Travel Guide for Thailand’s Beautiful Cave Beach

Phra Nang Beach, Krabi: Travel Guide for Thailand’s Beautiful Cave Beach

There’s a beach, a cave, a lagoon, a viewpoint, many stalagmites and stalactites.. and also a lot of monkeys. This is Phra Nang beach in Krabi, one of the most beautiful beaches of Thailand.

Wooden phallic symbols installed over generations and riveting tales to add to the mystery have made Phra Nang a popular beach destination in Thailand all round the year. The crystal clear waters and pristine sand have only added to the lure of the travelers. Phra Nang Beach has been a part of many travel publications’ top beaches list year after year along with the famous Maya Bay of the Beach Movie fame.

Me on Phra Nang Cave Beach, Thailand

Me on Phra Nang Cave Beach, Thailand

Phra Nang was believed to be the name of an Indian woman, who lost her fisherman husband at sea and spent the rest of her life awaiting his return in this cave. To ensure safe fishing, offerings in the form of male genitalia are made by the locals, which present a truly colorful site. Today this is one of the most visited attractions in Krabi and the following information will make your trip to Phra Nang beach a memorable one. 

Phra Nang Beach Panorama - Krabi, Thailand

Phra Nang Beach Panorama – Krabi, Thailand

Most people come to Phra Nang on a day trip as a part of the Karni four island tour, but we recommend you spend more time here and stay in one of the nearby bungalows or resorts. Due to the secular nature, Phra Nang beach trip will surely leave one with a feeling of tranquility and bliss.

Where is Phra Nang beach?

Phra Nang Beach, Railay, Krabi, Thailand

Phra Nang Beach, Railay, Krabi, Thailand

Phra Nang beach is situated in the Krabi region on the southernmost tip of the Railay Peninsula, just to the south of West Railay. The beach has a very good location on the tip of the headland overlooking the Andaman Sea and is also known for the spectacular limestone formations. 

Sunset time in Phra Nang Beach, Thailand

Sunset time in Phra Nang Beach, Thailand

One of the four beaches in the area, Phra Nang is has the calmest of waters, ideal for sunbathing and swimming. In comparison, you can’t swim or sunbathe in the nearby Railay East beach because it is covered with mangroves. You will enjoy the nearby beaches of Railay West and Ton Sai, but we will get to that part later in this post.

How to reach Phra Nang beach?

Monkeys on the way to Phra Nang Beach

Monkeys on the way to Phra Nang Beach

It may take some doing to get to Phra Nang cave beach, but once you have arrived you will realize that every step of yours was worth the effort to get to this legendary place.

Phra Nang beach after Sunset

Phra Nang beach after Sunset

In order to reach Phra Nang beach, you first have to reach Krabi Province in Thailand. Krabi Town has an airport, pier and railway station. Krabi Town can be easily reached from many other places in Thailand. You can go even go easily from Koh samui to Krabi and all other major destinations in Thailand. (Btw, read about my funny entry in Krabi in 2013 in this blog post here)

Krabi and Krabi Town aren’t the same thing. The tern Krabi is used for Krabi Province, which includes Krabi Town, Ao Nang and Railay peninsula. Railay Peninsula includes Phra Nang, Ton Sai and Railay East & Railay West Beaches.

If you’re staying in Railay, then you can just walk to Phra Nang beach. It is very close to Railay East, Railey West and even Ton Sai. The walk from Railay East or Railay West is lovely and flat, so anyone can do this. From Ton Sai, you may have to climb on a rock if the tide is high. 

Below is a little map that I made a few years back to share the walking instructions for a friend. The dotted yellow path is for walking – of course it isn’t straight as how it looks on the map. 

Railay Peninsula Map by Drifter Planet

Railay Peninsula Map of walking path to Phra Nang beach from Railay Beach by Drifter Planet

Most of the people who visit Krabi, end up staying in Ao Nang or Krabi Town instead of Railay. The most convenient way to access Phra Nang from Ao Nang is by hiring a long tail boat, as a shared taxi. 

The boat services run between 8 am to 6 pm, and the tickets cost about 200 Thai baht per person one way. The trip takes ten minutes and the rates are decided by the local longboat association. You can buy the tickets at either the end of Ao Nang beach or the southern end of Nopparat Beach. The boat drivers usually wait till they have at least eight passengers, before embarking on the trip.

My best experience of Phra Nang beach was after 6 pm or before 8 am. That’s before any long tail boat can reach here from Ao Nang or Krabi town, and after the last boat leaves. In order to enjoy the best of Phra Nang beach, don’t just make a day trip here. Please stay in Railay area so that you can just walk to this beach at any moment of night or morning.

Phra Nang Cave & Shrine

Phra Nang Shrine in the cave, Phra Nang Beach, Krabi

Phra Nang Shrine in the cave, Phra Nang Beach, Krabi

If you’re visiting the Phra Nang Cave Beach, you don’t have to go out of your way to see the cave. Just at the entry point of the Phra Nang beach is the legendary Phra Nang Cave, and inside the cave is the Phra Nang shrine. There are many legends and stories about the shrine, you can read some of them here.

If you look at the map, you will notice that the Phra Nang Cave lies on the eastern part of Railay bay. The entire rocky area has amazing limestone formations, especially the wonderful stalagmites and stalactites which can be found here. Oddly enough, the formations look like mushrooms, or dicks. Haha!

Phra Nang Beach and Limestone formations

Phra Nang Beach and Limestone formations

Well, those aren’t the only penises you will see here, there are wooden penises all over the Phra Nang shrine. Said to be the home of a mythical sea princess of the same name, locals consider the cave to be a sacred place and houses more than a hundred phallic symbols of all sizes symbolizing fertility.

One of the many phallic symbols on Phra Nang Beach, Krabi

One of the many phallic symbols on Phra Nang Beach, Krabi

Most people visit Phra Nang to relax and enjoy the sunshine amid the beautiful limestone formations – the typical Krabi scenery. 

Are There any Hotels on Phra Nang Beach?

A part of Phra Nang beach is a part of the luxurious Rayavadee Resort, the only one of its kind in Phra Nang, and occupies an area of 26 acres. Budget accommodation is also available at a short distance from the beach in Railay East or Railay West.

Avoiding Crowds at Phra Nang Beach

We found our quiet place on Phra Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand

We found our quiet place on Phra Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand

Phra Nang Beach is massive and tends to get crowded mostly near the entry area. Go walk till the end of the beach and most likely you will find a lot of empty areas starting from the middle of the beach till the end.

The best way to experience Phra Nang Beach is to stay here after the crowds leave on the long tail boats or to arrive here early in the morning before the day trippers reach. 

Railay West

Railay West in Krabi Province by Drifter Planet

Railay West in Krabi Province by Drifter Planet

Apart from the Phra Nang Beach, another lovely beach in the Railay peninsula is the Railay West beach. It is the main beach of Railay and serves as the arrival spot for visitors from Ao Nang to the Railay area. The boat ride between Ao Nang and Railay West barely takes around 15 minutes.

As compared to Railay East, I found Railay West to be a little upscale. A small community of expats and friendly locals run some bars and stores along the Railay walking street.

Railay West is surrounded by tall cliffs which have been twisted in different shapes over the years due to the constant vagaries of the weather. Rock climbing here has therefore become a major challenging sport in Railay West.

Since the beach faces the west, it becomes an ideal spot to watch the setting sun against the stunning backdrop of the tall limestone cliffs.The beach becomes a very active spot at night with the constant arrival and departure of the boats from the mainland. Visitors too have a great time engaging in various outdoor activities like football and sepaktakraw.

Railay West has a lot of amazing places to stay on the beach. Look for Sand Sea Resort and Railay Village Resort – they’re both good and you will enjoy your stay there.

Railay East

The View from Railay Garden View Resort in Railay East by Drifter Planet

The View from Railay Garden View Resort in Railay East

Railay East doesn’t really have a beach where you can swim or sit on the sand. This narrow beach is very different than beaches here because of the mangroves which are only found on Railay East. But hey, don’t get me wrong. Railay East is beautiful too, you just have to go a little high to see how lovely it looks when the tide is high.

Mangroves in Railay East, Krabi

Mangroves in Railay East, Krabi

Railay East Beach, Krabi, Thailand

Railay East Beach, Krabi, Thailand

A two kilometer long cement path goes around the beach and offers ideal avenues for jogging and hiking. This path is dotted with a lot of restaurants, bars and and adventure shops. Railay East also has a boat pier and if you arrive in Railay area from Krabi town, this is where you will arrive on a long tail boat.

Last Bar in Railay East, Krabi

Last Bar in Railay East, Krabi

While Railay West is all about the beach and fancy restaurants, Railay East has an amazing nightlife. The most amazing place to party here is the Last Bar, which is literally just the last bar at the end of Railay East. You can also check out the nearby Skunk Bar and Why Not bar.

Apart from the nightlife, the Diamond Cave is one of the principal attractions of Railay East. It features a wooden walking path with adequate illumination to make access to the cave easy. For a nominal entrance fee one can see fantastic rock formations inside the cave as well as witness a large colony of bats.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Railay, then check out Railay Garden View Resort – we stayed here in 2013 and absolutely loved it. We had a sea view bungalow here for which we had to climb up a little but it was worth it. Alternatively, you can also consider Sunrise Tropical Resort.

Railay Viewpoint

View from Railay Viewpoint - Railay West and Railay East

View from Railay Viewpoint – Railay West and Railay East

As you walk from Railay East to Phra Nang Beach, there are rocks on the left side and you will notice a climbing path before you turn for the beach. If you go up there, you will reach an amazing viewpoint from where you can see both the Railay Beaches – Railay East and Railay West.

Climbing to Railay Viewpoint and Lagoon, Krabi

Climbing to Railay Viewpoint and Lagoon, Krabi

The climb to the viewpoint isn’t difficult but can get very slippery. There are ropes along the climbing path that you can hold for support. The rocks have holes and form natural steps. There isn’t just one single viewpoint but a few of them as you explore the area on top.

Wear shoes that don’t have a slippery sole and you will be good to go. Watch out for the monkeys, they are everywhere. They’re cute but can attack too, so keep your belongings close to you, especially snacks. 

Princess Lagoon

Right on top of the viewpoint, you will notice a path that goes down. This path goes to the lagoon. Reaching here will take you around 45 minutes. It is unbelievably gorgeous that will make you feel you’ve entered a movie.

On our way to the lagoon from Railay viewpoint

On our way to the lagoon from Railay viewpoint

The lagoon is surrounded by the rocks on all the sides that are covered with trees, so the sound effect of the forest and monkeys is insane. The water is amazingly refreshing, make sure you swim here as a reward for your hard work of reaching here.

Monkeys on our way to Princess Lagoon

Monkeys on our way to Princess Lagoon

While getting on top of the viewpoint is easy, the way to the lagoon isn’t. Mostly because it gets extremely slippery. The mud here is clay like and gets very smooth as you step on it, enough to throw you off balance. Make sure you wear good shoes (and no flip flops) and pick a dry time of the day to climb down to the lagoon.

Princess Lagoon in Railay near Phra Nang Beach

Princess Lagoon in Railay near Phra Nang Beach – Vyacheslav Argenberg (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Carry a super small backpack with drinking water, maybe a snack or two, a sarong that you can use as a towel after your swim and of course your little camera.

San and I at Phra Nang Beach after attempting to reach the lagoon

San and I at Phra Nang Beach after attempting to reach the lagoon

We saw a couple of injured people here, who looked physically fit. Bear in mind that reaching the lagoon isn’t for everyone and you should know when to stop. If you do decide to go, take all the time you need to reach the lagoon because you can slip and hurt yourself if you’re in a hurry.

The Best Way to Enjoy Phra Nang Beach?

Understand that visiting Phra Nang isn’t only about the beach. There are many unmissable things to do here and below is how I think you can maximize your experience:

Boat Food on Phra Nang Beach

Boat Food on Phra Nang Beach

Stay in the nearby Railay East or Railay West for the night. Walk to Phra Nang before 9 am, hike up to the viewpoint, climb down to the lagoon, swim in the lagoon, spend an hour or two in the lagoon area, get back to the Phra Nang beach from the lagoon and swim again to cool off.

Phra Nang beach after Sunset

Phra Nang beach after Sunset

After your swim, eat a snack from one of the long tail boat cafes, drink an overpriced cocktail in Grotto cave bar, relax on the beach on a mat till it gets dark and swim again to see the bioluminescent plantkon. 

Ton Sai Beach

Ton Sai may not enjoy the same popularity as some of the other beaches in the vicinity but is no less dramatic than the others. It is my favorite part of the Railay Area, mostly because it has a low key and relaxed vibe, which is missing from many other areas. This part of Southern Thailand may be known for its laid back atmosphere but is also a hub of outdoor activities like snorkeling, diving, rock climbing and more.

Ton Sai Beach - View from the top by Drifter Planet

Ton Sai Beach – View from the top

Ton Sai is a small village that is accessible only by boat or by walking from Railay West when the tide is low. This walk takes just 10 minutes from Railay West Beach. When the tide is high, you may have to climb a little, it isn’t tough to do so. For this reason, Ton Sai is mostly visited by backpackers, campers and adventure enthusiasts.

Cute Bars in Ton Sai by Drifter Planet

Cute Bars in Ton Sai

Apart from a few wooden shacks that function as bars, restaurants and homestay, there is really nothing in Ton Sai. It may seem rustic at first sight, but once you experience the tranquility and the natural beauty of Ton Sai you would wish to stay longer.

Us on top of a cliff in Ton Sai, Railay, Thailand

Us on top of a cliff in Ton Sai, Railay, Thailand

Evenings at Ton Sai have a unique flair of its own with locals performing with fire dance shows as reggae music can be heard in the background. Prices here are much lower than other places in the region, with good accommodation in bamboo bungalows can be had for around 500 baht per night.

We stayed in a place called Andaman Nature Resort in Ton Sai, which at that time did not have an option for online booking. We also stayed in a place called Sai-Ngam Botanic Garden Resort, which was deep inside Ton Sai’s forest area. It is very basic so don’t stay here if you’re looking for something fancy.

Eating in Ton Sai isn’t so expensive as compared to Railay. We enjoyed the food at Andaman Nature Resort. Also, Mama’s Chicken is the trademark dish at Ton Sai and can be had for less than 100 baht at certain places.

Did follow our travel recommendations for Phra Nang Cave Beach?

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Thailand Travel Tips – 13 Things To Know Before You Go

Thailand Travel Tips – 13 Things To Know Before You Go

Thailand Travel Tips – the Land of Smiles

One of the most visited countries in the world, Thailand has been the gateway to South East Asia for many kinds of travelers. Adventure enthusiasts head to Krabi, digital nomads go to Chang Mai and party travelers head to Koh PhanganIn 2018 over 38 million tourists visited the county to enjoy its gorgeous beaches, delicious food, learn more about its exotic culture and visit historic temples.

The “Land of Smiles” as Thailand, is nicknamed because of its extremely friendly and laid back people, is definitely a destination that should be on your travel bucket list. If you’re already planning a visit to Thailand here are some tips to make your trip more enjoyable.

Travel Tips for Thailand

Railay East, Krabi Province, Thailand

Railay East, Krabi Province, Thailand

Thailand eVisa and Embassy Visa

Passport holders of many countries enjoy visa exemption when they enter Thailand. Others can apply for a Thailand eVisa to speed up the process. I have an Indian passport and I have visited Thailand twice. The first few times I applied for the visa directly from the embassy, but later I realized I unnecessarily wasted time when there’s an option of obtaining en eVisa.

Currency, ATMs and Cash

The currency of Thailand is Bhat (THB, ฿). Current rate is 1 USD is about 30 Baht. You can withdraw money directly from the ATMs at Bangkok‘s Suvarnabhumi airport after you land. Withdraw enough because there is a surcharge of 150 Thai Bhats per transactions. Moreover, as you go sightsee it will be easier if you have cash on you to pay for tuk tuks, taxis and food. 

Don’t Take Selfies With A Tiger

Animal tourism is big in Thailand. Many tourists include a visit to the tiger temples, where tigers are on display to pose with tourists, in their itineraries. If this is part of your travel plans when in Thailand we suggested crossing it out.

What you may not be aware off is these animals are mistreated and neglected. From the time they are born the tigers are separated from their mothers, confined to small cages and subjected to harsh training. I am sure you would want to encourage this form of cruelty to animals just to get a selfie for your Instagram page.

Also while in Thailand avoid riding elephants, another big attraction for tourists. These animals are also mistreated.

Brush Up On Your Negotiation Skills

Shopping in Thailand - Learn to Negotiate

Shopping in Thailand – Learn to Negotiate

If you want to save money during your trip bring your “A” game for negotiating. In Thailand markets haggling over prices with sellers is part of the buying process. If you want the best deal for a souvenir don’t pay the first price given to you. Give a counter offer and bargain until you both arrive at an agreeable price.

Negotiating for prices is not only done in the markets around Thailand.  You can negotiate transport fares with tuk-tuk or taxi drivers, accommodation rates or even tour prices. Don’t forget your smile when you negotiate!

Learn a Few Thai Words 

English is widely spoken in most of the popular tourist destinations in Thailand like Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. However, as you move around you may encounter problems communicating with locals.  

Learn some basic Thai phrases, especially “thank you”. Women can say “kup kun kaa” and men can say “kop kun khap”. For easier communication use translation apps or phrasebooks. Also, it may be wise to ask a hotel receptionist, for example, to write down for you in Thai addresses to destinations you intend to visit. You can show this information to bus conductors and taxi drivers for them to assist you to get there.

Dress Appropriately

While packing for your trip to remember to choose the right clothing. I advise that you carry clothes that reach your knees and cover your shoulders. This is because many cultural sites and major museums don’t allow people they consider dressed inappropriately on the premises. You don’t want to offend anybody with your dressing so avoid wearing see through clothes and leave your beachwear for when you get to the beach.

When packing also remember to add a pair of sandals. You’ll be visiting many temples and sacred places and will be required to constantly remove your shoes. Sandals will be easier to take off than a pair of boots.

Visiting Bangkok? Be Sure to Carry Earplugs

Khao San Road – Nightlife in Bangkok Itinerary

Khao San Road in Bangkok – where every backpacker heads as soon as they arrive

Thailand can get noisy especially some areas in Bangkok so earplugs will come in handy. If you want to avoid the noise be sure to check online reviews to see if the hotel and area you’ll be staying is noisy or not.

Watch Out for Scammers

Unfortunately, many tourists have been conned while enjoying their vacation in Thailand. Bangkok, for example, has a well-developed network of scammers who sell fake jewelry and non-existent tour tickets. Many travelers get scammed in Bangkok’s Pat Pong street when they decide to watch the infamous “ping pong show”.

Given how friendly and laid-back locals are you can easily fall for these scams. So if someone tries to sell you something and the deal sounds too good walk away. Be particularly careful when dealing with tuk-tuk drivers who are known to scam tourists.

Avoid Talking About The Royal Family

While traveling around the country you’ll see pictures of the Royal family adorned in many places and by the time you leave, you will be very familiar with the faces of the monarchy.

The Thai royal family is revered for it has united the country during tough times. Because of this, any negative talk about the monarchy is prohibited. Engaging in such talk can land you in a Thai prison. So only speak of the Thai royal family if you have something positive to say.

Don’t Touch Anyone’s Head and Watch How You Use Your Legs and Hands

Thais consider the head to be the most sacred part of the body. Touching someone’s head is, therefore, consider disrespectful and should be avoided. Talking of body part also avoid pointing at anything using your feet. Feet are considered the least sacred part of the body and using them to communicate is also considered disrespectful.

During interactions with locals always use your right hand to make payments, wave etc. Using the left hand will not be taken well as the left hand is what Thai people use in the bathroom.

Thai Red Bull

Red Bull is much stronger in Thailand as compared to many countries. If you like mixing your alcohol with Red Bull, then you need to be very careful in Thailand because it will hit you like it never did before. It is called Krating Daeng and is much cheaper in Thailand (usually 20 – 30 Bhats) than rest of the world. 

Drinking in Thailand

Drinking in Thailand - Chang and Singha beers

Drinking in Thailand – Chang and Singha beers

Drinking in Thailand can be quite affordable if you drink local brands. Beer lovers will love Chang and Singha and whiskey drinkers will enjoy Sangsom. I personally prefer Chang over Singha. The alcohol content in Chang sometimes varies, depending on how lucky you are (hehe).

The best place to buy alcohol is Seven Eleven because they won’t sell you spurious bottles. We once had suspiciously cheap Thai buckets on Haad Rin roadside (Full Moon area), which ended up making us very sick and giving one of us a blackout. The same happened with many other travelers that I met. Click here to read my post about how I hated the Full Moon Party and drinking in Haad Rin. 

Mai Pen Rai

You’ll hear this Thai phrase mentioned frequently during your trip. Translated to English it means “don’t worry” or “everything is ok.” The phrase Mai pen rai is a true representation of the Thai people who are easy going and resilient. While out on your Thailand adventures have the Mai pen rai attitude and nothing will stop you from enjoying yourself.

Be sure to remember these tips as you travel to Thailand and I hope you have an amazing trip in the Land of Smiles.

Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand: Secret Way to Experience “The Beach”

Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand: Secret Way to Experience “The Beach”

Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.
– Richard of The Beach movie

Leo on The BeachEvery month, thousands of determined tourist groups land in Thailand’s famous Phi Phi islands for their dose of the legendary “The Beach”!

Yes, the very beach that was made famous by “The Beach” movie of 2000 – after all, it was the highlight of the movie!

Where exactly is Maya Bay – “The Beach”?

Phi Phi islands is a group of five islands in the Andaman sea. The only populated island is the biggest island – Koh Phi Phi Don. However, “The Beach” is Maya bay of the uninhabited Koh Pi Phi Leh. Actually, the island is not completely uninhabited – the lucky island warden gets to live there.

Phi Phi Islands tend to get crowded but if you want to know exactly how we got to experience the paradise all to ourselves, read on. Btw, if you’re planning on visiting this lovely country, then be sure to check out these travel tips for Thailand.

Our Obsession with “The Beach” (the movie and Maya Bay – both)

The only downer is, everyone’s got the same idea.

 – Richard of The Beach movie

A few years back, my best friend and I also decided to visit “The Beach”. However, there was ONE problem that was glaring at our faces. We saw many people’s vacation pictures and to our dismay, Maya Bay appeared to be disgustingly full in all the pictures.  We also read on many blog websites where people had complained that the bay was full of longtail boats bringing tourists in large numbers from the nearby Krabi, Phuket and Ko Phi Phi Don. In most of the pictures, the beach was not visible at all because it had too many people on it!

Just like the movie, we also wanted to run around on empty Maya Bay, swim close to the fishes and with the planktons at night, sleep under the glittering stars, wake up in the morning on an empty beach and run around again!

Nevertheless, we were not ready to give up. We hunted for a few days but we finally found the perfect solution! We found that only ONE way where we could do all of above, have the island to ourselves AND watch the sunset and sunrise too! How?

Well, there’s only one tour operator has the permit to take people to this island before and after the tourist hours. They don’t take 25 people, which is perfect! The tour starts after lunch and ends next day after breakfast. So overall – it’s 25 (or less) people on a beautiful island with no one else! Read to find out more about this.

Maya Bay Sleep Aboard – The Adventure Begins:

On our visit to Phi Phi Island, we were short of time because we decided to spend only 2 days on this island. Out of the two days, one half of our second day was spent scuba diving. We ended up paying for only one night for our room because we dropped our luggage early for our Maya Bay Sleep Aboard tour. (BTW: My first scuba experience was in Phi Phi but if you’re looking for the most awesome diving experience, check out Raja Ampat Live aboard)

We boarded our tour boats that had ONLY 10 other people from different countries – so in total we were 12 people on that island plus the crew. Speaking of the crew – there were only 5 people and they managed the show well. Over a fruit platter on the deck, our tour guide – Kai broke the ice and got everyone to socialize. After all, we were all going to spend a day together.

The Viking Cave near Maya Bay

The Viking Cave near Maya Bay

We cruised around in blue waters, stopped near the Viking cave for a few photos and stopped the boat in the middle of nowhere. Here we had an option to do kayaking and snorkeling – or both.

Viking Cave up close

Viking Cave up close

Snorkeling around Maya Bay and my mermaid moment:

This is the spot where I had the best snorkeling experience!

As I went underwater, hundreds of fishes swam around my head – almost kissing my face. I could see three different schools of fish all floating in different directions.  Time stood still as I looked around under water sinking in the beauty. In that moment, I was a mermaid and it was better than what I had seen in any movie! I did not have an underwater camera so I tried to make a mental video to remember for life.

After a bit of snorkeling and kayaking, it was time to go back to the boat. Because of the tide, the boat couldn’t enter Maya Bay so we had to take a different and more dangerous route to enter Ko Phi Phi Ley. From the boat we had to climb on a rope ladder to the slippery cliffs. Getting on the ladder was not easy because the waves were strong, but it got simpler after that. We walked around the island for a few minutes and finally reached our destination.

Welcome to Maya Bay – “The Beach”

We were finally on Maya Bay! The sensory delight that greeted us took our breath away.

Empty Maya Bay: Rosh and I couldn't believe our luck!

Empty Maya Bay: Rosh and I couldn’t believe our luck!

  • The sight of this Paradise beach
  • The sound of waves and birds
  • The touch of the soft sand on our feet
  • The smell of the sea and the trees
  • A taste of salt on our lips from the sea air

Our five senses thanked us for waking them up!

It felt incredible and wrong at the same time that we were the ONLY ones of this island and privileged few to enjoy it just to ourselves!

Maya Bay

Look how pretty Maya Bay looks when it’s empty!

Anyway, my friend and I walked around the island for a while. The island is tiny and had a lot of greenery. People who visit usually are so enchanted by the beach that they don’t end up exploring the forest area.

Maya Bay Forest2

The Forest area in Phi Phi Leh

After an aimless walk and a small island exploration, we headed back to the beach and found our perfect spot in a cove to enjoy the sunset with Chang beer.

 

We met the rest of the group at the designated time to enjoy the delicious barbecue and a Thai bucket.  We all sat around in circle, spent the entire evening exchanging travel stories, playing silly drinking games and eating delicious food. By the way – all the food and one bucket was included in the cost of this tour.

Drinking Games at night on Maya Bay

Drinking Games at night on Maya Bay

Swimming with the Plankton at Maya Bay

Somewhere around the midnight, Kai announced that it was time for a night swim! We jumped into the water to swim with hundreds of tiny star-like bio luminescent phytoplankton. Commonly known as plankton, they sparkled like a starry sky as we moved through the dark water and they glow only if you move around in the water.

Time to sleep under the stars on Maya Bay

Post our swim, we went back to our boat that was moored 30-50 meters off the beach. We chose our sleeping spots on the deck of our big boat under the stars. Sleep came to us easily since we were all extremely tired from our action packed day.

Good Morning Maya Bay – Empty Beach! (And the customary jump shot)

The boat crew woke us up early morning to make the most of our last few hours. We walked around and noticed that the first set of private tour boats had started arriving. In that instant we felt extremely lucky since now knew how it felt to experience “The Beach” the best way.

Kai announced that it was time for a jump shot. The funny part – there were 10 different cameras and he made at least 5 photos from each so we all ended up jumping 50 times! Was it worth it? Well, see the picture and decide for yourself!

Customary Jump Shot on Empty Maya Bay

Customary Jump Shot on Empty Maya Bay

The Name of the Tour: Maya Bay Sleep AboardThe tour was awesome back in 2013 when I visited Thailand. My sister visited in 2014 and did the same tour and loved it. I obviously don’t know if it’s still as good as it was back then. I recommend you read their reviews on TripAdvisor before booking.

Price: THB 3000

Was it worth it? Well if you look at the money, you save on one room night and all the meals for 24 hours as well as one rum or vodka bucket PLUS if you count the money you would have spent on an island tour + snorkeling + kayaking + night swim, this is definitely a win!

I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for, ’cause it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something, and if you find that moment… it lasts forever…  

– Richard of The Beach Movie

We found our paradise moment on Maya Bay. Where was yours?

Maya Bay Thailand - Koh Phi Phi - The Beach Movie Experience

Maya Bay Thailand – Koh Phi Phi – The Beach Movie Experience

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Full Moon Party of Koh Phangan

 

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Krabi’s Railay Beach + Around – Railay West, Railay East, Phra Nang & Ton Sai

Krabi’s Railay Beach + Around – Railay West, Railay East, Phra Nang & Ton Sai

I have visited Thailand multiple times, but there’s one place that I keep going back to. It is the Railay peninsula in Krabi province. My first visit to this place back in October 2013 is what I will remember for life, mainly because of my dramatic entry.

My first visit here was when my close friend Rosh and I decided to spend a few days in Thailand. After landing in Krabi town, we skipped the crowded party town of Ao Nang and got on to a long-tail boat to Railay East. However, the boat couldn’t go to the main pier because the tide was low and left us in a spot with calf length water from where we were supposed to walk for almost two kilometers till the edge.

We love walking however a thought stuck our heads – how do we carry our luggage? Back then, we were not backpackers, we were flash packers! You will cringe at the “S” word but yes we were carrying suitcases, not backpacks. Those suitcases were heavy because we were not experienced travelers hence did not pack smart. Oops!

My petite sized friend Rosh, who has mastered her “damsel in distress” look, was offered help by the boat operator who carried her suitcase on his head to the main area. However, I (I look stronger than Rosh but looks are deceiving) had to put my suitcase over my head and walk for two kilometers. The fact that I was wearing a pair of dilapidated flip flops and the seabed was entirely full of pebbles did not help!

The pebbles were pointy and slippery which caused my flip flops to slip away from my feet a few times and each time they floated away, Rosh had to grab them because I couldn’t bend with 11 KGs of luggage on my head. Well, it doesn’t sound like that big a deal? Wrong! I made a hilarious sight and I was aware of it. There were people standing in the distance who stopped their normal activities just to point at me and laugh. I made a mental note of three things:

  1. to NEVER carry a suitcase but always a backpack;
  2. to never over pack as tempting as it can be to carry a lot of clothes; and
  3. to learn to depict that “damsel in distress” look from Rosh

Anyway, this incident made us laugh for hours after Rosh and I had our first Chang beer in Railay. Our entry made us realize that Railay East is nothing but a straight kilometer long stretch next to sea. We were not very pleased with what we saw but a pleasant surprise hit us when we reached our rooms.

Our rooms were booked in a place called Railay Garden View Resort which was at the end of Railay East, right next to the famous “Last Bar”. This resort is on an elevated area and the rooms are on top of small hills. Our room was one of the highest points of this place that required a bit of climbing. We reached the balcony of our room and our jaws fell. Wanna know why? Because of THIS view! We were in LOVE!

The View from Railay Garden View Resort in Railay East by Drifter Planet

The View from Railay Garden View Resort in Railay East

We fell in love with the resort, especially the cafe in it. The view from the cafe was amazing too, although not as nice as our room. There was an endless supply of tea, coffee (instant, not espresso) and water at all hours. Over the next few days, we thoroughly explored the area and realized how beautiful Railay (or Rai Leh) is.

The Railay peninsula is broadly divided 4 parts (See Map):

  1. Railay East
  2. Railay West
  3. Phra Nang
  4. Ton Sai
Railay Peninsula Map by Drifter Planet

Railay Peninsula Map by Drifter Planet

 

Railay East in Krabi Province

Your boat will most likely drop you in Railay East if you decide to visit Railay peninsula. Oh and there’s a proper pier here that I saw in my last visit in December 2014, so you no longer have to walk in water like I did when the tide is low. As mentioned earlier, this is a straight kilometer long stretch next to Railay East beach. This beach has mangroves hence, it’s not possible to swim or sunbathe here.

Stay: This area mostly has resorts and a few bungalows. I stayed in a beautiful room with a view for THBs 1000 per night. That was in 2013, but the rates have gone up by now. Our room now costs around 60 Euros for two. You can check the latest prices here.

Eat: There are many good places to eat here but our favorite was a place called Tom Yum Goong behind Skunk Bar. Yes, there’s a bar by that name! A plate of Pad Thai in Tom Yum Goong costs around 70 THBs.

Pineapple Cashew Rice at Tom Yum Goong in Railay East by Drifter Planet

Pineapple Cashew Rice at Tom Yum Goong in Railay East

Bars: Talking about the bars here, this area has a lot of them and some are really cool – Skunk Bar, Why NOT Bar, Yaya Bar and the Famous Last Bar. Rosh and I spent many hours at the first two during the day and at the fourth one at night.

 

Can anyone guess where this is? #rasta #rastabar #whynot #wanderlust #nomad #travelblogger #blog

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Last Bar is the biggest one here and is literally the last bar on Railay East.  It has an area for Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) which occurs on a few days of the week.

Fire Dance and Muay Thai in Last Bar of Railay East by Drifter Planet

Fire Dance and Muay Thai in Last Bar of Railay East

On most of the days, there is an acoustic performance by a talented musician that plays the guitar and loves performing songs by The Beatles. Post Muay Thai or musical performances, the party begins! It is then, 4 or 5 fire dancers perform together for 30 – 40 minutes. After the fire dance, the main dance floor opens for everyone and it’s fun to see how everyone dances till wee hours of the morning. When I mean everyone, I mean guests, travelers and staff members.

Railay West in Krabi Province

Railay West in Krabi Province by Drifter Planet

Railay West in Krabi Province by Drifter Planet

Railay West is only a 5 minute walk from Railay East but it’s a total change of scene. This beach is usually filled with resorts; hence it’s filled with families, honeymooners and rich travelers. The beach here is beautiful but I never ended up spending a lot of time here because I found this area to be a tad expensive. There are no places to party in this area so mostly people that stay here visit Last Bar in Railay East for that purpose. If you book a room here, the boat can drop you here too, but charges THBs 50 per person extra. It’s easier to get off at Railay East and walk for 5 minutes to reach here.

Phra Nang in Krabi Province

Panorama of Phra Nang Beach

Panorama of Phra Nang Beach

Phra Nang is the MOST BEAUTIFUL part of this area. There is only one place to stay here and it’s super expensive. Phra Nang is 7 minute walk from Railay East towards the other end of Last Bar. The entry path to this beach is surrounded by stalagmite and stalactites laden limestone cliffs. There are many monkeys here, so keep all your personal belongings in your pockets before the monkey mafia snatches it away. This area has many interesting things to see.

Phra Nang Beach - Monkey on San's Shoulder

Phra Nang Beach – Monkey on San’s Shoulder

Phra Nang Cave Beach is the main attraction of this area.  Although this beach is crowded but it is possible to find empty spots if you walk towards the end of the beach, away from the caves. This beach is perfect for a swim.

 

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The best time to visit this beach is a little before the sunset. Most of the day trippers from Ao Nang and Phuket leave Phra Nang by then. Moreover, it looks spectacular during sunsets, especially when the rocks emit a reddish hue.

 

A photo posted by DrifterPlanet (@drifterplanet) on

This beach gets absolutely empty at night due to the lack of bars here. A night swim on this beach is a “must do” and it is possible to see the luminescent glow of planktons while you swim. This beach has only one place to stay – Rayavadee Resort, which is stunning but extremely expensive! There’s a restaurant in that resort called Grotto, which is famous because it’s inside a cave with stunning views. It is possible to eat fast food on Phra Nang beach from these long tail boats as shown in the below picture. This is a new addition that I saw in 2014.

Boat Food on Phra Nang Beach

Boat Food on Phra Nang Beach

Phra Nang Shrine is also another attraction here and is towards the start of the beach. It is inside a beautiful cave with painted wooden penises all around.

Shrine in Phra Nang Cave Beach by Drifter Planet

Shrine in Phra Nang Cave Beach

Strange sight indeed, but interesting nonetheless!

Phra Nang Shrine in Cave

Phra Nang Shrine in Cave

View Point and Lagoon can be reached by climbing on the limestone cliffs that are towards the entry part of the beach. Climbing on these cliffs to reach the viewpoint and lagoon is easy but it may not look that way. There’s a rope to hold yourself and the cliff has many points that you can hold on to. The holes on the rocks form natural steps to climb up.

Railay West and East from the view point in Phra Nang by Drifter Planet

Railay West and East from the view point in Phra Nang

The view from the top is lovely because you can see both Railay East and West. From here, the way to the lagoon is only 15 minutes away but on both the occasions that I was here, it started raining. When it rains here, it’s risky because the rocks become slippery and the mud turns sticky like clay. Much to my dismay, on both the occasions, the climbers turned back and advised us to do the same.

In December 2014, San and I still insisted to reach the lagoon despite the rain but it got extremely slippery so we decided to head back mid-way.  My message to the lagoon: Dear elusive lagoon – I know you’re playing hard to get, but you don’t know my determination. I will visit again and meet you for once and for all.

San and I covered in mud after climbing in the rain. Location - Phra Nang Cave Beach in Railay.

San and I covered in mud after climbing in the rain. Location – Phra Nang Cave Beach in Railay.

Ton Sai, Krabi Province

Ton Sai Beach - View from the top by Drifter Planet

Ton Sai Beach – View from the top

This is the best part of the entire Railay peninsula and is a 10 minute walk from Railay West. Unlike the other parts of this peninsula, Ton Sai can’t be reached by a leveled path but there’s a way from the rocks that leads to this area. It is not as developed as the other three areas. The electricity supply here runs for only a few hours in a day. I did not see a resort here, which is a good sign.

 

A photo posted by DrifterPlanet (@drifterplanet) on

We stayed in a place called Sai-Ngam Botanic Garden Resort which was a deep inside Ton Sai, next to the jungle area. We paid 500 THBs per night here for a very basic hut. This price included the breakfast as well and was wonderful!

We also stayed in another beautiful place in the main area called Andaman Nature Resort. We found a room in this place during the peak season for 500 THBs and the room was better than the first place. Andaman Nature Resort doesn’t have a website so a room can only be booked if you reach here.

Ton Sai at night. This beach is perfect for a night swim! by Drifter Planet

Ton Sai at night. This beach is perfect for a night swim!

Ton Sai beach is lovely! The sand here is a tad darker than the nearby Railay West but the vibes are way better. Typical crowd here comprised of budget backpackers and rock climbers.

The bars in Ton Sai are beautiful and I remember spending many evenings in a place called Chill Out Café with interesting seating, fire dancers and good music.

Cute Bars in Ton Sai by Drifter Planet

Cute Bars in Ton Sai

Keep in mind, the electricity supply in Ton Sai is available only for a few hours in a day. Charge your gadgets well in advance to avoid inconvenience.

Are you ready to explore the Stunning Beauty of Railay, Ton Sai and Phra Nang in Krabi Province? Which one would you go to first – Railey East, Railay West, Phra Nang or Ton Sai? Or all? Let me know in the comments section.

If you like this post, please SHARE it and follow me on Facebook by clicking here.

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One Day in Bangkok Itinerary – Things to do

One Day in Bangkok Itinerary – Things to do

Bangkok Itinerary for exploring the city in just one day.

Is it possible to explore Bangkok in one day? Probably not – but here is an attempt to help you decide what to do in Bangkok if you’re visiting this city for a short duration.

Bangkok has been the gateway to SE Asia for many backpackers for the last few decades. It is the same place where Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio) arrived to start his adventures in “The Beach” movie.

My numerous visits to Bangkok have been for the purpose of visiting some other nearby destinations because my Thailand itinerary never really included the cities. Having lived in a metropolitan for years, I did not want to spend a lot of time in this city.

One Day in Bangkok – Itinerary for a Quick Visit

One Day in Bangkok Itinerary

We were actually in Bangkok for longer than a day but our other activities such as skydiving left us with just one day and night to explore the city. In my attempt to get the most out of this city in one day, I made an effort to read a few travel guides for Bangkok and plan the day in advance. Hence, this post has my Bangkok itinerary for getting the best out of this exotic city in one day. If you’re in a mood to spend more time here, then you should check out this 3 day itinerary for Bangkok.

Here’s the funny thing, I have visited Bangkok multiple times and for more than just a day. However I did pretty much nothing on the other days because I did so much on my first day here! Yup, this itinerary is very fast paced! On later visits, I even found a place where I can go for Yoga in Bangkok – check it out.

Most of the backpackers find rooms on Khao San road, but on this occasion, we had booked our rooms in Silom so this itinerary starts from there. We prefer Silom over Khao San Road. We stayed at I Residence Silom, which was near Chong Nonsi BTS station. This hotel has an excellent roof top pool where you can enjoy the happy hour.

There are many hostels on Khao San road, which is why this area is popular amongst backpackers. If you don’t have budget constrains, you can also try Sukhumvit instead. If you stay in Khao San road, you can skip the first step.

What we carried in our small bags:

Sun glasses, a tiny foldable umbrella, water bottles to keep us hydrated, scarves to cover our shoulders for temple visits and Chang beer from 7-11 which we purchased it after we were done visiting the temples. Oh and of course some little money, fully charged phones and hotel card.

Things to do in Bangkok in one day –

What to do in Bangkok in morning

Start your day with Street-food breakfast

Fruit Juice Stand _One Day in Bangkok Itinerary

Fruit Juice Stand _One Day in Bangkok Itinerary

Even though our breakfast was available in our hotel, we decided to do make the most of Bangkok’s street food. We got out of our rooms early in the morning, and enjoyed an interesting road side breakfast which comprised of fresh fruit, iced coffee, iced tea, fish and pancakes.

Sausages on sticks – Street food in Bangkok, Thailand

Sausages on sticks – Street food in Bangkok, Thailand

Yes, Bangkok’s street food can be spicy but for breakfast it is easy to find pancakes and sausages which aren’t spicy. If you want more information about the street food in Thailand, you can read about Bangkok food trail here.

Cruise the Chao Phraya River on an Express boat

Chao Phraya Express boat

Chao Phraya Express boat

We walked to Sathorn pier in Silom. Our walk took us 15 minutes. My recommendation is to save an offline version of google maps or just ask locals for the nearest boat pier.

We waited for 5 minutes and boarded the first boat. I love tuk tuks and metro however, I feel the best and the cheapest way of traveling internally within Bangkok is by boat. Also, the marking on the boats can be confusing so please ask around. If you’re starting point is Khao San Road, then you need to walk to Phra Arthit Pier.

Explore the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and cross the river for Wat Arun

Wat Pho - Temple of Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho – Temple of Reclining Buddha – Bangkok Itinerary for one day

We got off the boat at Tha Tien which has Wat Pho on one side and Wat Arun on the other.  Right next to Wat Pho is Bangkok’s famous grand palace. If you’re into architecture, you’re going to love the grand palace. After checking it out, you can then walk to Wat Pho, which is next to it.

Wat = A term used for Buddist temples in a few countries of South East Asia

Wat Pho is known as the temple of reclining Buddha and Wat Arun is known as temple of dawn.  These two temples are the most famous landmarks of Bangkok and are right next to each other with a river between them.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun – Bangkok Itinerary for one day

Wat Arun looks much better from across the river. Personally, Rosh and I did not spend much time in these three places because they were jam-packed with tourists. In fact, we discovered a quaint temple next to Wat Arun which was empty and peaceful.

To get a little idea about the history, check out this post about Bangkok and the Siam kingdom.

A quiet and empty temple next to Wat Arun

A quiet and empty temple next to Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand

What to do in Bangkok around mid day

Enjoy Bangkok Street Food for Lunch

Having spent a few hours exploring temples, we were starving! We thought we would have a relaxed sit down lunch but we couldn’t resist the street food and had a variety of things again.

Thai Street food: Grilled Octopus

Grilled Octopus – Street food in Bangkok, Thailand

Head to Siam Street or Khao San Road for shopping

Siam Street was not originally in our itinerary but we ended up being there by accident. Siam Street or Khao San road are two different kind of areas but I suggest you pick one. Khao San is backpacker’s paradise with bars, road side massages, street food and cheap bargains on the road. Siam Street is more focused on shopping and you can find better clothes, bags and more here.

From What Pho we caught a tuk tuk to the nearest BTS station and upon looking at the map, we realized we had to change our metro for Silom (Chong Nonsi) at Siam, so we decided to explore the area.

Siam Street in Bangkok

Siam Street in Bangkok

Siam BTS station provides a good aerial view of the market area. We had no intentions of shopping but ended up buying a few things at unbelievable prices. Out of all the shopping streets in Bangkok, Siam had the best goodies. We also spotted some beautifully arranged street food here.

Fruit on Siam Street

Fruit on Siam Street

Look at the seafood! At Siam Street

Look at the seafood! At Siam Street

Shrimps on sticks at Siam Street, Bangkok

Shrimps on sticks at Siam Street, Bangkok

How to spend an evening in Bangkok

Enjoy a roof top pool with a beer

From Siam BTS, we headed to Chong Nonsi BTS to keep our unexpected shopping in our rooms. A swim on our roof top pool and a pint of beer later, we headed out again.

Our Roof Top Pool in I-Residence Silom. We got a good deal on the price here.

Our Roof Top Pool in I-Residence Silom. We got a good deal on the price here.

Eat Local Food for Dinner

We noticed a food court in near our hotel in Silom which was full of locals and we decided to give it a try. We ended up having our best meal in Bangkok for 80 bhats per person.  It was one of those places where you could select rice or noodles with a few veggies, curries, meats, salads and seafood. Look at all those chili clamps on my plate!

The Most Amazing Thai Meal

The Most Amazing Thai Meal

Nightlife in Bangkok – What to do in Bangkok at night

Pat Pong Street – Night market and the infamous and sleazy Ping pong shows

Our next stop was the nearby infamous Pat Pong Street. This place is famous for its ping pong shows. We did end up watching one show out of curiosity and narrowly escaped being scammed. Check this post for top travel scams that you should watch out for.

The infamous Pat Pong Street – Nightlife in Bangkok, Thailand

The infamous Pat Pong Street – Nightlife in Bangkok, Thailand

Our main motive of visiting Pat Pong street was was to check out the night market. Pat Pong Street has the funniest things which you can buy on the road, such as mini vibrators, dildos, sex toys, kinky souvenirs and a lot of rubbish. Anyway, after exploring the market found a place called “Thai Thai Massage” and pampered ourselves with the best foot massage of our trip.

Bar Hopping on Khao San Road

Khao San Road – Nightlife in Bangkok Itinerary

Khao San Road – Nightlife in Bangkok Itinerary

If you have some energy left to party, then head to Khao San road. Khao San road is alive the entire night with bars that sell cheap alcohol and play many different genres of music. Rosh and I didn’t have any energy left and felt sleepy after our foot massage so we headed back to our rooms to catch 6 hours of sleep to wake up early morning for our Sky Dive.

Things to do in Bangkok if you’re visiting for MORE than just one day –

Go Lose Your Mind at Chatuchak Market (Weekend)

If you end up being in Bangkok over the weekend, then you MUST visit this market.  We visited this one our way back from one of the islands and our eyes popped out at the massive scale of this market.  Again, we had no intention of shopping but our visit was to experience the madness of this market.

This market cannot be covered in a day.  It has multiple sections dedicated to food, clothes, shoes, antique furniture, clay handicrafts, garden decorative, jewelry and so much more! The best thing about this market is that it caters to the locals so you can expect lower prices. It’s easy to reach this by MRT. The nearest station is Chatuchak Park MRT Station. This is where I ate a few crispy insects like cockroaches, grasshoppers, frogs, bugs and what not.

Insects at Chatuchak Market

Insects at Chatuchak Market – Yummy!

 

Enjoy a Dinner in a Restaurant on Chao Phraya riverfront with a view of Wat Arun

There are many restaurants along the Chao Phraya river but imagine enjoying a dinner with a view of Wat Arun.  We didn’t do this because we are budget travelers but would like to do this someday. Arun Residence is one such restaurant that can provide you a view of Wat Arun as you eat.

Dinner on Chao Phraya river front with a view of Wat Arun

Dinner on Chao Phraya river front with a view of Wat Arun – Picture by Carmen Fernandes

(This picture is by our Photographer friend Carmen Fernandes)

Head to the Floating Markets

Just outside of Bangkok, there are a few floating markets that are worth a visit. These have become extremely touristy but who cares because they looks beautiful!

There are many floating markets such as Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa, Bang Khu Wiang, etc.  These markets start early in the mornings and mostly on the weekends. If need help deciding where to go, then you should read this post about the most beautiful floating markets in Bangkok.

We didn’t end up going there, but our photographer friend Carmen did. Look how beautiful this looks.

Bangkok Floating Market by Carmen Fernandes

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market by Carmen Fernandes

(This picture is by our Photographer friend Carmen Fernandes)

Check out the Madness in Bangkok’s China Town

San has been to China Town and he says he felt he was actually in China. This one kilometer long narrow strip of market that is dotted with many small shops with Mandarin signboards is Bangkok’s China town.  It is jampacked, a little dirty, has a lot of intriguing sights and a variety of interesting food options.

Chinatown in Bangkok by DrifterPlanet.com

Chinatown in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok has a variety of options for every budget. From variety of temples, to offbeat hidden gems, expensive up market rooftop bars (like Sky Bar at Lebua or Vertigo at Banyan Tree) and kinky cabaret –the city has something to offer for everyone. This metropolitan is the most populated city of Thailand which has retained its cultural charm. I hope this post convinces you to visit the city soon.

Where to stay in Bangkok – Recommended Hotels and Hostels in Bangkok

I Residence Silom – $50 – $70 per night

Green House Hostel, Khao San Road – $11 – $17 per night

Novotel on Siam Square – $90 – $120 per night

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us reduce the costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!
One Day in Bangkok Itinerary

One Day in Bangkok Itinerary – Pin It

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Travel guide for Bangkok

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My Travel Hangover Made Me Meet My Soul Mate

My Travel Hangover Made Me Meet My Soul Mate

Have you ever experienced a travel hangover?

I did back in November 2013. This happened right after I came back home (India) from a backpacking trip in Thailand with my travel buddy Rosh.

Now, if you’re wondering what exactly is a travel hangover, here’s the best way I can describe it for you.

Travel Hangover is that disgusting feeling when you come back home after traveling and feel your life will end if you don’t go back. Go back where? Back to traveling!

TRAVEL HANGOVER

My Travel Hangover made me meet my soulmate

 

Anyway, we had just returned back home, had just about unpacked and couldn’t stop talking about Thailand. Three hours and three drinks later, we decided to book our tickets to go back to Thailand! (Blame it on our favorite Thai Rum – Sangsom). Needless to say, our friends and families were a little worried because they believed we had absolutely lost our minds. To tell you the truth, they were kind of right.

Suggested: Travel tips for Thailand – Essential things you must know before you go

Being broke as hell did not stop us at all. In fact, we were confident of our ability to travel at a fraction of the cost of our previous budget. We never really got a chance to unpack and a few weeks later we were ready to go. We said bye to Delhi’s bleak winter and boarded a flight to Thailand. No words can describe the euphoria which we felt as our flight took off, because, in our minds, we were ready to conquer the world!

Khao San Pad Thai

Khao San Pad Thai – My Travel Hangover Made me meet my Soul Mate

Upon landing in Bangkok, we boarded a train and headed directly to Khao San road. We had 2 hours to kill before our Lomprayah Bus so we decided to indulge in a delicious road side meal of Pad Thai. Lomprayah has a bunch of high-speed catamarans and a few comfortable air conditioned buses.  It’s easy to book a bus + boat ticket through them online. There are many other services such as Songserm and Seatran Discovery but I find Lomprayah’s website the easiest to navigate.

A few words of advice to anyone before boarding Lomprayah coaches: please carry warm clothes when you have to travel in Lomprayah coaches else you will freeze. Having forgotten our previous journey, Rosh and I almost froze to death till a fellow backpacker Dan gave us his extra blanket. I love making friends on the road and some of these friendships have lasted a long time. In this instance, Dan became our friend.

Rosh, Dan and I

Rosh, Dan and I

A few hours of conversations revealed that Dan had recently finished school in Germany and was taking a year off before starting college. He had spent many months traveling all over Asia and to our surprise, had seen more of our country than we had back then. Shame on us! He was actually headed to Koh Tao but he decided to join us in Koh Phangan instead.

The three of us spent a few days in Koh Phangan exploring the island for the second time, eating some delicious food, indulging in some Thai massages and spending a few evenings in Ban Tai’s parties. You can read about my Koh Phangan experience here. A few days in Phangan were enough for us and we decided to head to Koh Tao. Our main reason to head to Koh Tao was to attend a 4-day long PsyTrance festival – The Experience Festival of Koh Tao, which occurs around the NYE.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao

We introduced Dan to PsyTrance and ended up having an amazing time. The spectacle of colors and amazing UV decor is a visual delight at this festival. You can read my post about the Experience festival here.

Sunrise and fresh morning air by Digital Thangka

The Experience Festival – Sunrise and fresh morning air by Digital Thangka

However, it was the third morning of the festival when Rosh and I returned back to our room in our “festival high” that I got the bad news. Somewhere between December 31, 2013 and January 1, 2014 while I was celebrating the New Year’s Eve, my good friend Pratap had passed away.

Pratap was traveling in Kerala (India) to celebrate New Year’s Eve with his friend but ended up in a deadly motorcycle accident. The shock engulfed me because our friendship had developed quickly and I had spent many evenings on his terrace discussing music and travel. It pained me to remember how excited he was about traveling in Kerala.. which ended up being fatal.

My friend Pratap

My friend Pratap

I decided to stay in my room but thankfully Rosh dragged me out to the festival.  I decided to get a little drunk to keep my mind away from the loss of my friend. I did not want to speak to anyone so I sat in my hammock, sipped my Sangsom and tried not to think about my friend. It was not easy to control my thoughts and before I realized, I had tears rolling down my face. I was well hidden with rocks all around me but after a few minutes I realized there was another hammock behind me with a person on it.  I gazed back at him but never got to know if he saw my tears or not.

A little while later, we started talking. Thankfully our lighthearted coversation distracted my mind and I felt better. We spent the entire night talking but did not exchange names and said goodbye at the end of the night.  The next day, I realized my eyes were searching for him at the festival.

Shit, I didn’t even know his name, his country – was I ever going to find him again? Strangely at that moment, I saw Pratap’s face in my mind who gave me a knowing smile. Just at that moment, to my delight, I saw him walking to me.  We spent the entire evening dancing, talking and exchanging our travel stories. Soon it was time to say goodbye to him and Thailand.

Can you spot San and me? :)

San and I are in right in front, can you spot us? 🙂

On our flight back to India, my friend Rosh asked me if I was ever going to meet him again. “Probably not” is what I answered. That’s the thing about travel romances – you never know if you’re ever meeting again. Moreover, I wasn’t even sure if ours was a “travel romance” because not much had really happened, except I felt a deep connection on a mental level. Did he feel the same? I did not know at that time but I was about to find out!

I got my answer as soon as I landed in Delhi and switched on my phone. There was a message from him and he was thinking of booking a ticket to India. Whoa!

Well, I don’t think I need to say more. From here on, things were on a roller-coaster ride.  He spent a few months in India; we traveled together within India and got to know each other better. We realized we had the same passion for travel, adventure and music with a carefree outlook towards life. We wanted to explore more and experience different cultures together.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that we are soul mates. We fell in love and he asked me to marry him. We traveled back to same place where we had met exactly after one year. This is us in Koh Tao where we clicked our “Save The Date”.

My Travel Hangover Made Me Meet My Soul (1)

 

Have you ever fallen in love while traveling? Let me know in the comments!

My Travel Hangover Made Me Meet My Soul Mate!

My Travel Hangover Made Me Meet My Soul Mate!

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